Nanny Sarah, Bria Bag and First-Time Bread Baking

Tuesday, March 31

Listening to "She's So High," Tal Bachman (I'm sometimes a 90s-music-obsessed blogger...)

Finished Knitting Project:
Here's Bria's bag- finished by her Nanny Sarah!

the bria bag
I'll admit- not the best picture.
I'm still
being lazy about pulling
out my
Canon Rebel. Next time I
will, swear!

Cute little project. Took no time at all and- let's be honest- it's not the most amazing thing ever knitted. But she's five, so she sure thought it was amazing. Which made me feel good :)

And, finally!

Recipe Review:

StephChow's Bread { Whole Wheat Yeastless Focaccia }

stephchows screenshot

This recipe is so fun, so quick and so easy. Perfect if you- like I was- are a first-time bread maker. HINT: To make the bread, you use a 12 oz. dark beer!! Who doesn't like a recipe that replaces hard, elbow-work yeast baking and kneading (isn't that what bread making is usually about?) with BEER?!

I didn't screw the recipe up-- and that's saying something
. It's easy- you can do it!

~ * ~ * ~

Till next time (When I'm hoping to make bbq-- or, if you're southern, pulled pork!-- for the first time! Great family crock pot recipe!),

-Your laughing-while-nannying,
kid-purse-knitting, bread-making
New Girl Blogger

My First Award!, Twitter, and Tutor Tips

Monday, March 30

Listening to, "Sunrise" Norah Jones.

I got my first blog award!!
lemonade award
The Lemonade Award
Thanks Ace!

Now I have a spot on the right panel of my blog to house blog awards... I'm so excited. I think blog awards are so cute. It's the epitome of why I love blogging-- nice people going out and doing nice things for bloggers who are just trying to put their ideas/stories out there. Thanks again, Ace!!!!!!!!

twitterSo... if someone asks you if you twitter, they aren't asking anything dirty. I've actually been avoiding twitter! The premise-- a site where you can post little updates on your life all day long-- sounded a little like internet stalking to me. But it's actually really fun AND there are lots of fun people on twitter! And now I'm twittering, too. See the twitter update box on the side of my blog? Fancy...

Knitting Knoobie is on there as well, AND she sent me this really cool Web site: It allows you to search twitter for others who are similar to you! You can search for bloggers, knitters, cooks, etc. who are on twitter... I was very excited about this site.

Education: New Blog Section
"Tutor Tips!"
super tutor!
That's me! SUPER TUTOR! Heh...

Got kids? Know kids? Like/Care about education? Then at least read this part: My two favorite education-related Web sites. I use these for tutoring and nannying all the time!

1. Find a book: Teacher Book Wizard
  • You can search by reading level (ex. 4th grade), genre (ex. historical fiction), or search for "similar books" (ex. type in Harry Potter and check what grade level you want, and it will find a different but similar book for you!)
  • You can create book lists and share them with others!
  • Perfect for that nephew who loves to read-- you weren't sure what book to get him? Next time you see him just ask what his favorite book is and try that site!
2. Find a educational, online game: GameQuarium
  • WARNING: not the most well-designed site
  • BUT! Games of every type-- search by grade level or search by subject
  • I found a decimal game where the superhero shoots down decimals that are equivalent to the evil fraction... PERFECT incentive for a kid to learn new math skills.

Hope you're all having a great Monday! Can't wait to share some new recipes in the next post, and review StephChow's Bread-- hint hint: it's definitely almost all gone :)

-Your now-twittering, award-winning,
New Girl

Apartment / Knitting Update

Friday, March 27

Listening to "Bittersweet" James Taylor (another one off the rainy day playlist)

Ok, so I wasn't eaten by termites or anything. We moved out for a couple days, which was hectic and crazy. The complex put us up in their "spare suite," which I swear was just the "show" apartment... you know, that furnished apartment they give you a tour of when you're looking at the place for the first time? Yea... we were living there. In a weird way, it was kinda like being in a dollhouse.

Then we got back yesterday... I cleaned everything. Then I had them come in and clean... kind of obsessive... but I needed it. After that, for sanity's sake-- can't get enough clean.

They drilled under our apartment for two days to get rid of the suckers, so we've been assured it won't happen again. I'm not holding my breath... when I walk in the apartment I still won't enter until I've turned a light on, and I'm always staring at the floor looking for new invaders... but it's been great so far :) Good to be back!

Here's a drastically overdue knitting update-- get the topic away from bugs :)

Sorry about these pictures below! I just took them with my little mac's camera for time-saving reasons since none of these projects are actually finished.

Bag for Bria
Bria's the kindergartner I nanny... she saw the cabled bag I'm working on and said she really really REALLY (direct quote) wanted one. She's five and doesn't need a serious purse though... so I just started knitting this instead.
purse for bria
Holding it together... not totally
with the strap yet! Then I'll
sew it up and
be done-- quick
and easy :)

It's fun, simple, and Bria saw a preview of it and liked! 5-year-old approval is always nice :) I think I'm going to put her initials and a flower on the front with some dark blue yarn...

Hat for Abby
White for Easter!
My first double-pointed-crazyness
project-- my mom swears by this
method but I'm really finding the
great # of needles to be confusing!
Hat looks good so far though :)

I'm also making Abbster a little spring jacket in this beautiful dark green, but I need help with it. My lovely friends in the Raleigh Stitch & Bitch group are helping me navigate through this not-so-well-explained pattern and I need some more of their amazing insight...

Cable Purse, or "The Christine Bag"
I'm done!

Well... kinda. I'm done with the body.

cable purse
See my cables?!?! Kinda? I know, bad picture.
Cables are so fun and easier than I thought...
And see my shameless plug
for global-warming
awareness? It's my favorite shirt :)

To finish the bag: I don't have the necessary black handles and I have NO idea how to "line the bag." The pattern doesn't have any instructions for that part so I'm just gonna wait for my Mom to have a spare second to teach me.

I hope you all have a GREAT and bug-free weekend. If you haven't had your house inspected for termites lately I would maybe do so :)

OH! And Stephchows put up this really awesome recipe for bread forever ago and I'm gonna try it this weekend. I think it may be my first successful cooking/baking adventure in a while :)

-The New Girl, who is now just your
termite-expert, girl-next-door blogger.

Termites. TERMITES... Seriously.

Monday, March 23

I want to go ahead and fill you in on this whole story. This way, if it ever happens to you... well, just hope it doesn't.

Boyfriend and I were in the apartment all weekend. We're not really lame, or anything, but kind of. There was basketball... Entourage on DVD... knitting... card games... it was splendid. I really only left to go tutor.

All weekend-- fun. No bugs.

Woke up this morning. After only ONE "Sarah... wake up now if you want to go running..." from the boyfriend, we actually made our jog. On a Monday! We woke up in time to jog! I know.

Boyfriend showers while I make coffee, we kiss goodbye in the kitchen (love that!), he leaves for work and I sit in the living room with caffeine to finish my Web design project.

About an hour later I get up for a coffee refill. Web design ideas floating in my head, empty mug in hand, I meander to the kitchen-- but stop dead.

The floor is moving. The freaking kitchen floor is moving.

Ok, so it's not moving moving. But there are at least 10 little, ant-sized bugs on the floor. I try not to freak out, but I do let out a tiny squeak. EEK!

Bugs. BUGS?!?! WE NEVER HAVE BUGS IN OUR APARTMENT! We're very clean people!

Now, I'm still in my jogging clothes and my running shoes are lying lazily next to the couch in the living room. So, I talk to myself. I'm sure those ants were just on your shoes. You're a big girl. Wipe them up, put the shoes outside and re-fill the coffee cup.

So I do, letting out little squeaks as I wipe the little ant-sized meanies into their paper towel of death. I flush them, do a little dance-of-disgust as I wash my hands, and then go into the bedroom to find my phone. I have to call Matt and tell him this-- how weird!

I find my phone on the bedside table, start to dial his number and head back into the kitchen to retrieve coffee.

There are still bugs on the floor.

I let out another squeak. But I wiped all of you up! I whine to the remaining bugs. They keep crawling. Really squeaking now, I rush into our master bathroom so I can look in the mirror --seeing bugs makes me feel like there are bugs on me!! -- but I don't make it. As I turn on the bathroom light, I see-- to my ABSOLUTE horror.

More Ant-sized bugs. This time, all over the bathroom floor.

Phone still in hand, I rush back towards the kitchen. I don't walk through bug-land, instead going around the kitchen to the carpeted dining room. There are no bugs on the carpet-- just on the kitchen and in the bathroom.

WHAT?!?! We never have bugs in our apartment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am obsessed with vacuuming-- Matt even got me a vacuum for CHRISTMAS I like it so much!!!!!

Finally, I call Matt. I pace while the phone rings. Voicemail.

BEEP-- "Uh, high babe-- it's me. Can-uh... can you-um... can you call me back. Now? I'm not dying or anything, just... just, like, call me back."

Freaking out, I resort to talking to myself again. So you missed a couple ants. And they were on Matt's shoes too, that's why there in the bathroom. And... if you just get them now it'll be over with. It's not like Matt can come home to wipe up ants. You can do it. And if you do, you can have more coffee.

So I tip-toe back towards the kitchen. But I don't get more coffee. I don't even move...

'cause there are more bugs. In the kitchen. After I just wiped them all up. They're back. WHERE ARE YOU COMING FROM?!?! I scream at the newly arrived ants. They continue crawling on the floor in response as I stand frozen and breathless in indecision. Luckily, Matt calls.

Now, I don't know about you, but sometimes when I'm upset and I try to explain why I'm upset, it makes me cry. So my explanation goes something like this:

I... babe... I don't know. They just appeared but now there everywhere [pacing] and... I don't... I tried to wipe them up! I got -- uhh-- I got like 10 of them. [Deep breath] but, um, they came back, and now there's more, and I don't like buggggss--- [kind of wimpering now] and they're in our bathroom too and [Eyes begin watering with tears as I walk towards the bathroom]... and-- OH! oh -no -ohnoohnoohno babe-- [crying full-on now] thhheeeyyy'rree ooonnn tthheee caaarrrpppeeeettt!! [Between sobs] Theyy're-- gonnnnaa-- crrawwwll-- innntoo-- ouuurr-- beeeddd!!!!

Matt convinces me to go to our apartment's office. I sprint there (good thing I still had the running clothes on) and explain, in a similar sobbing way, what's happening. I add-- "I sw-sw-sweeaarr we're [hicciup] reallll-reallly cleaan p-p-people [hiccup]."

The apartment office lady looks at me with slight disbelief (I am in jogging clothes-- she thinks I'm a mess, I suppose) and repeatedly asks, "Hun, you didn't see no bugs allllll weekend? Are you suuuuree?" as if I'm going to suddenly say, "Actually yes, now that you've asked me that question 15 times I do remember seeing crazy ant-sized bugs all over the place. Thanks for helping me clear that up."

She sends a "Super" with me to check it out. He looks warily at my tears as if to say-- lady, I can handle bugs, but a crying 22-year-old girl 'aint in my job description. I go with him to unlock the door and let out little sqeaks as he pulls out our fridge, dishwasher, air filters-- everything. He even pulls up a little carpet.

Still, most of the bugs are just on the kitchen. Nothing the super overturns reveals a large group. It's like they just came up from the ground...

I watch from a safe distance away from the kitchen-- but the little bugs have started exploring a little carpet now. I decide to act, and hurridly put everything touching our bedroom floor (laundry baskets, bed skirt) onto the bed. While I'm doing this, the "Super" begins shouting out ridiculous ideas from the kitchen.

"You thrown away lots a rotten food lately?"
Me-- no.

"Hm. You tried to move your fridge around lately?"
Me-- no.

"You unplug the fridge?"
Me-- no.

"Hmph. You guys try to replace this here carpet by yourselves?"
Me--, we're just renting, so we don't really mind the carpet.

"Yeah... well what about animals. Y'all hidin' a pet? Could be the pet's fleas..."
Me-- we don't have a pet.
"Cause if you do, I aint gonna tell the office, it'll just help me figure out what these bugs are"
Me-- No, I promise, we're not hiding a pet.
"You sure, hun?"
Me-- Scouts honor, sir.
"Well alright..." [He's not sure if he believes me]

"You spill somethin' down here on the floor?"
Me-- oh, just a little sugar water to attract bugs, right before I opened all the windows to let bugs in. Why, you think that's it?"

At this point I'm less upset and more pissed. Why me? Why my apartment? Suddenly, the super appears in the doorway to my bedroom.

"Hey... uh... you heard from your neighbor lately?"
Me-- "Um.. no, but we've never actually met him, so if he's had bugs I doubt he'd tell us."
Super-- "Right, right... well, uh, have you HEARD him, though? Like, heard him movin around?"
Me-- [Confused] "He's pretty quiet... but why..."

Sudden Realization:: The super is so confused by my bugs, he think maybe my neighbor has died next door and that's what's bringing the bug crowd.


He goes to investigate by knocking on the neighbors door while I take some clothes to my car and begin loading up school stuff so I can study somewhere bug-free. Before packing up my computer, I do a quick search and come up with an obvious answer: termites.

Termites are small, ant-sized, and have wings but don't fly. They come in "swarms" (or sudden, large groups) when it gets warm and they're in search for more "food" (or, wood). A sudden swarm of termites doesn't mean your house is dirty or vacuum-neglected: it means there are termites in the foundation.

I tell the Super this, but he shakes his head.

"These look more like carpet beatles to me," says the guy who a second before believed my bugs to be corpse-eating beatles. "Plus, termites are much harder to deal with," he adds. "You'd be better off hopin' these here were roaches."

Gross. I excuse myself and head back up to the apartment office. I tell them what I've found on the internet, but I receive a similar response.

"Hun, we don't want termites. Our exterminator is on her way as we speak," says the office woman confidently. "She deals with everything BUT termites. If it was termites... well, hun, we'd have to get a specialist out here. That would be a much bigger problem... Plus, the super thinks they're carpet beatles. That happens a lot. Have you guys been vacuumin'?"

So, of course, two hours later they call-- the exterminator has "reviewed the situation" and--wait for it!-- thinks that we have termites. They're going to get back to me and let me know what they plan to do. For tonight, if we want, we can stay in the "hotel," which is a spare, furnished apartment they keep on hand for these kind of "situations."

"But we're gonna try to have this taken care of today sweetie. Plus, most the bugs seem to have gone away now," the woman says.

...because it's a swarm. Because the termites were looking for food. And now they've gone back home to tell their termite friends what they've found. That doesn't mean they're gone...


I knew that the first couple years of being an adult would be full of "new" lessons-- life experiences, both up and down, that would make me miss childhood and turn slightly more sarcastic. I did not, however, think that I would experience so many this very first year of being "on my own."

For now-- who knows. I guess there always is an upside. The bugs weren't there because of vacuuming or a dead neighbor, and that's always a good thing.

My first flash movie!

Wednesday, March 18

Listening to, "Losing A Whole Year," Third Eye Blind

So apparently, even though I can't make pie I can make Flash movies!

We're working with flash (an Adobe software product) in class-- my first time using it. We were assigned a video project so I decided to make a video to share with you!!!

Try it!


At least I can do something right :) I mean, it's not Shrek or anything, but still.

Hopefully that'll keep my confidence up, because I'm reffing my first lacrosse game on my own on FRIDAY and after that pie it feels good to be the new girl at something and do it RIGHT. Thanks Flash :) But I am excited about this new referee experience-- I bought my official jersey today and everything!!!

Random Anecdote for today: Nigel Slater's Advice for New Cooks (like me!)
  • Don't think you have to cook every day.
  • Don't think you have to cook at all. Good eating is as much about shopping as cooking. Think about cheeses, hams, bread, ready-made fish/vegetable/fruit salads, ready-made meals, shop-bought puddings. They can all fit in somewhere, but preferably not every day. They're ultimately an expensive, unfulfilled meal.
  • You can live on homemade soup and toast.
  • A diet of homemade soup and toast gets boring after a while.
  • Take a look at the ready-made meals in the supermarket; they'll save you cooking every day. Some of them are not that bad for a once-a-week lazy meal.
  • Pour yourself a drink before getting started!
  • Try to cook only as much as you'll eat today and tomorrow; come the third day you won't want it, however much that casserole/curry/soup is supposed to improve with keeping.
  • Remember that there is nothing quite so useful to have around as a cold roast chicken. You can feast off it for the next couple of days.
  • Overestimate the amount of potatoes and rice you will eat. Anything not eaten today will be fine tomorrow. Think sauté potatoes and fried rice. Think bubble and squeak.
  • Underestimate the amount of pasta you will eat - there's always a temptation to cook too much and reheated pasta is horrid. Remember there is no such thing as a nice pasta salad, despite what women's magazines would have us believe.
  • Try to keep at least something in the store cupboard, say olives, pasta, tinned flageolets, olive oil, anchovies, tomato passata, wine, coffee. This way you will never come home to no supper, even if you skip the shops.
  • Pillow packs of ready-prepared salad may seem expensive but the alternative - several types of lettuce in the fridge - will prove more expensive in the long run. What is wrong with a green salad from just one type of lettuce anyway? It's all in the dressing.
  • Frisee, the mop-haired pale salad leaf, keeps almost as well as an iceberg lettuce and is much more interesting to eat. Try it with bits of hot bacon and a mustard dressing.
  • Ignore anyone who tells you that you shouldn't drink alone.
  • A bag of pasta, a lump of Parmesan and a bottle of olive oil are probably the best friends you will ever have. It's another supper for those nights when you cannot be bothered to shop.
  • Always keep a bag of frozen peas in the house. It will get you out of no end of trouble.
  • Poached fruits such as gooseberries, damsons and rhubarb may seem a time-extravagant dessert just for one but remember that they can be eaten the next day for breakfast, too.
  • Two cannot live as cheaply as one. It is a myth put about by people trying to justify a decision they have just made.
  • Cultivate recipes that use stale bread or breadcrumbs. Few of us can get through a whole loaf before it goes stale. Dead bread makes very good garlic croutons when fried in oil till golden and crisp, for scattering willy-nilly over salads and pasta.
  • Don't be afraid to make large quantities of your own salad dressings, pesto, tomato sauce. They will keep well enough in a jar in the fridge.
  • When you are shopping for supper, remember that as well as steak, chops and liver, poultry and game can also be perfect for one. Think partridge, pigeon and poussin.
  • Nothing gives you quite so much confidence as making your own bread. It is one of the easiest things to make and everyone will think you are a genius.
  • A bottle of wine is not a challenge. You can put a cork in it and keep some for tomorrow.

Cute :) Any more advice you can think of?

I think mine is just: If you can't bake cookies, don't skip ahead and try to make pie. Start simple-- go from there. Rome wasn't built in a day!


Bad Pie and Leprechaun Hats

Tuesday, March 17

Listening to "Where Do We Go From Here," Mat Kearney

I'm used to assigned readings.
As a grad student, assigned readings are pretty much my life. But I recently received an interesting assignment from my mother and from my step-dad's mother, Marti.

Marti and her husband Dave are lovely people, and they're really, really fun. Dave is a retired minister and Marti is one of the most skilled knitter/quilter/crafters EVER. She's very inspiring and very sweet-- would drop her needles to help you with your project in a second. They live in the beautiful mountains of Virginia but visited this weekend on the way up from their Florida vacation. They're just a joy to be around!

Imagine my surprise, then, at this joke aimed at my first pie's expense:

Dave: "This pie isn't half bad... [dramatic pause, then with emphasis] It's ALL Bad!"

Did I mention he's a retired minister? Yet, this sweet, sweet man was so taken aback by my awful baking that he was able to muster up a mean-spirited jaunt at my pie.

That's how bad it was.

My first-- and failed-- pie attempt.

Other Jaunts--

"Do I have to finish this?" -My Mother
"Did you add salt instead of sugar?" - My Step-Dad Tom

Me: But Matt (my boyfriend) said he didn't think it was that bad!!
Marti, to Matt: You need to work on being more honest with one-another!

The filling wasn't mixed well (I was afraid of over-mixing it! Like with pancakes, they always tell you not to over-mix even if there's still little lumps. Apparently... not the same with pie. Apparently, you kinda need to muscle-power-mix or get a mixer.) and I let it bake too long (it didn't look done! then all the sudden... it was REALLY done). Plus, Melanie REMINDED me that the recipe asked for a little too much salt, and told me to tone it down. She commented on MY BLOG and REMINDED ME not to use too much salt-- what more can you ask for?!-- and I used too much salt.


So, my assigned reading.
It's Joy of Cooking, the section on pies. Apparently, it's the numero uno of all food books, cooking and baking.

Here's my Mom's and Marti's words of wisdom--

Baking isn't like cooking. You can't throw together ingredients the same way. There's a science behind it, a chemistry, to why certain ingredients have to be added at certain times and in certain ways. You need to understand that science before you can really understand baking.

But I did say Marti is a sweetheart, and she really is. So of course, she wouldn't let the night end on a bad note.

"But your crust is good-- and that's the hardest part!"

Well, at least I've got that going for me.

And, I must admit-- the mixing, the joy of using a rolling pin, the flour everywhere-- pie making is FUN. I'll try again sometime.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The 5 year old I nanny and I made a leprechaun hat for her doll out of computer paper and leftover tissue paper.

Gotta love kids.


Baking Karma, Pie (Pi!) Tips & Spring Lace Scarf

Friday, March 13

Listening to (Rainy Day Playlist): "Wild World," Cat Stevens

Now I get it-- I was supposed to have a bad week
Because with the bad week, there was no time to make pie. The pie was delayed. Now, I'm going to make it tomorrow-- on PI DAY!!!!!!

{Pi Day- remember "Pi" (3.14) in math? Tomorrow is 3.14!}
Get it?! Not my pie-- but how cute!

If it hadn't been for my bad week, this lovely coincidence simply would not have been. See?!?!?! Everything happens for a reason!!!

I can't thank you enough for the support after my last, admittedly depressing, post. It really was hard to write about the bad stuff-- made me feel a littttle whiny, but in the end I felt much better. I let it out, and with every comment I felt like-- ok, everyone has a bad day. As Mom used to remind us-- This, too, shall pass.

Tomorrow is Pi Day, and I'm ready.
See Below-- Pi Tips!

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Knitting Update ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Spring Lace Scarf: Finished!

-Not very spring-ish... I like it, but I'll try again and make another spring scarf. This just isn't it.
-BUT, I learned to do a K3 and YO stitch pattern
-Really love the YO effect-- the "holes" do give a lacy pattern-- but I think a spring scarf should be a little skinnier, or maybe should have more holes to really make it lacey.
-Still really like the color, just wish I'd used a different kind...
New Girl Lesson of the Day: Shouldn't make "spring" projects out of wool... cotton would have been a much better alternative.
Ta-Da! My first "finished project" pose...
not a bad scarf, just not what I wanted

Cable Purse, or "The Christine Bag":
Update: It's going very well!
-Messed up a few times-- size US 17 needles are huge and hard to work with!
-Cable stitch is FUN and way easier than I thought it would be!
-Can't wait to show you when it's done :)

~ * ~ * ~ *
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Pie Tips

Here are the wonderful Pie Tips I've received so far...
might help if you also feel like celebrating Pi Day... :)

From Sarah:
  1. The less you handle the pastry, the better it is. If you touch it or mix it too much, it goes hard and chewy, not at all the result you want.
  2. Make sure everything is cold, cold flour, cold butter, cold water.

From Melanie:

  1. Cover in tin foil-- it's in the oven for a while and might burn
  2. The Recipe! It was her "Pie of the Week"-- see here!
  3. She also had a great post about homemade pie crust

From Rebecca:
This was a while ago, but I still love it: her comment in response to my boyfriend eating bad cookies I had baked
  1. "Best tool a baker can have is an appreciative partner" :-)

From My Mother:
  1. When baking and using butter: Leave the butter on the counter overnight. Melting it in the microwave does not work for baking (maybe that's what happened with my awful cookies...)
  2. Make the crust the night before, leave it in a dough-ball in the fridge and flatten it / do the pie the next day-- keeps you from getting burnt out!

My mom also lovingly forced me to borrow her pastry cutter thingy... it's like a handheld cutter thing, looks like a weapon... I was just going to mix everything but apparently pastry cutters were invented for a reason. I'll let you know if I think I really needed it :)

Till the Pie Post, Happy Pi Day Eve!


Worst Week Ever... by Wednesday?

Wednesday, March 11

Listening to "You're in Luck," Slowrunner (My go-to, feel-better song)

I like to think of my blog as a happy place. It's somewhere I go to laugh about cooking catastrophes, knitting blunders, or just general lapses in life judgment. I can talk to the blogging world about questions and ideas, and sometimes I even get wonderful comments back (Thanks!). What a happy place!

So, I don't want to change the happy atmosphere of this blog by bringing in the negative-- especially after I spent so much time changing to a prettier layout (I am a self-identified vain blogger, and I apologize).

Therefore, instead of meandering loquaciously through all the bad things that have happened so far this week and fudging with the happy tone of my happy blog...
I'm just going to summarize:
  • flat tire. 4 new tires. Savings-- wiped out.

  • grad assignment, huge part of grade: did wrong. teared up in front of teacher, then in front of class. can make up-- late grade penalty.

  • can no longer work with favorite tutoring client; her Mom bounced her check to my tutoring company. She tells me there just isn't money right now, clicking her manicured nails on the library countertop while her 5th grader looks at me mournfully, as if to say "tutor me for free! I need your help!" If I tutor for free I get fired. The world is just not fair.

  • eye infection. I look like I got punched. Don't worry, it's not contagious, I keep explaining.

  • amidst daylight savings and school emergencies, lost time to make pie. I was really excited, especially after receiving so many helpful comments of advice from you!

  • spring scarf, you're lacy and pretty. But your maker is dumb, and made you out of wool, so spring really isn't your season.

My next blog post will be happy. I know I'm tempting fate, here, asking for more bad events-- but tempt I will! I'll even say it again-- My next blog post will be happy! Happiness, pie, and a well done knitting project-- it's all coming, bad luck or not.

Because at the end of the day,
a flat tire gives you the chance to see how cute your boyfriend is when he drives out to find you, changes your flat for your spare, and makes you dinner when you get home. Your step-dad calls the next night, hears about your awful week and offers to buy you a pizza delivery so that you don't have to cook dinner. Your mom leaves you "have a better day!" messages like you're still in high school and it does make you feel better.

You're alive, you're healthy, and there's still plenty of time to make pie. So really, it's not that bad of a week after all.

Thanks, blog.

The Christine Bag

Thursday, March 5

Listening to "Narcolepsy," Third Eye Blind

I started!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm going to make this:
I hope I can make it! I don't know
how to cable stitch so it's also
going to be a learning experience...

found the pattern for free on Ravelry!!

I'm making it in gray. It's going to be my "go-to" project (I hope!), where I can learn the project well and then make a couple really fast. Wouldn't that make a cute Christmas present?!

...Yes, I said Christmas. I have 3 sisters y'all, if they're all gettin' hand-knits I gotta plan ahead!

Running late for work now, but I am just SO EXCITED to have a new project I had to share!

Thanks for all your kind comments about my awful soup-- whenever I feel like a terrible cook I can come to my blog and feel encouraged :)

This weekend: The finished not-so-spring Spring Lace Scarf and I'M MAKING MY FIRST HOMEMADE PIE!

What a week!


March Snow, spring knits and how NOT to make Chicken Noodle Soup

Monday, March 2

Listening to "Back in Love," Estelle

It's March in North Carolina-- and it's SNOWING!!
[Above] Right outside my porch...
[Below] our apartment's courtyard

Boyfriend was actually STILL here till almost 10am on a Monday! Amazing, because he's quite the workaholic (in a good way). I love our mornings... especially when he makes me BREAKFAST!

Snowday Breakfast: Egg, ham and cheese bagel
with a side of turkey bacon. Breakfasts are
definitely his specialty. He makes the eggs
just like McDonalds... but better, of course!

This week:

1. Got sick.
One of the kids I tutor had to cancel a session because of the flu... and I'd just seen him two days prior. It was only a matter of time...

2. Made the worst Chicken Noodle Soup EVER
First of all, I was sick. Second of all... I was sick. So this isn't completely because I'm an inexperienced cook.
Don't let this photo fool you... it's awful.

I tried to make Chicken Noodle in the crock pot. I figured... I'll lay on the couch with tissues and make my own homemade flu remedy, right? So I turned the pot on high (I wanted my remedy right away!) and promised to check it soon. Then I fell asleep... for hours. When I work up, the noodles had disintegrated, turning the "soup" into noodle-sauce mush.

New Girl Lesson of the Day: When making soup in the crock pot, make the soup... add noodles after (along with any finely-chopped veggies that you don't want disappearing!)

...and I forgot to add salt. So unless you get a bite full of yummy vegetables, it's flavorless mush. Overall, just a bad soup.

It's kind of a "soup standoff" at my apartment, figuring out who's going to eat the leftovers... (not it!)

3. Trained to be a lacrosse ref the freezing rain
on Saturday. Great when you're sick! Turns out I'm "whistle shy," which is actually a common new-ref disorder. I see the foul!!! Then... I think. "Was that illegal?" By the time I think that one thought, they're down the field and it's too late. My ref trainer gave me some fun advice:

It's about safety. Don't worry about if it's "technically" the right call-- you're the ref. So if you whistle, it is the right call. Use your instincts-- and blow the game up!!

Fun :0)

4. Received a surprise present from my parents: a food processor!
They weren't enjoying my new-cook, small-knife-cut-on-the-finger stories. So even though my birthday is 10 months away, I got a present! An amazing present, that is!

I hate chopping veggies and it takes me foreverrrr... my new processor can chop an onion in like 5 seconds. LOVE!

5. New knit project in attempts to invite warm weather...

Spring Lace Scarf:

My first real "pattern" scarf. A simple
YO, K3 combination allows the intentional
holes in the scarf to give a "lace"
imitation-- perfect for spring! And
how about that blue!

It's still on the needles, but I'm hoping to be done this weekend! That way, it's ready in time for near 80 degree weather!! That's right-- it's snowing in Raleigh today, and by Saturday it should be more than warm enough for my new scarf.

Gotta love NC weather :)

Happy Snow Day!